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I-Team Maps Route Taken To Dispose Of Ebola Hazardous Waste

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The CBS 11 News I-Team has learned more about the hazardous waste taken from two Ebola patients' apartments. Investigative Reporter Mireya Villarreal looked at the route hazardous material crews took, from Dallas to just outside Houston, and the measures taken to keep the mission a secret.

Health experts with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the Ebola virus can only live for a few hours when it dries on a surface. Conversely, they say the virus can survive for several days if it is in liquid form.

That means if Nina Pham or Amber Vinson, the two North Texas nurses who contracted the disease, cut themselves while at home and bled, onto the floor, counter or other inanimate object, if the quantity was enough to slow evaporation, that bodily fluid could potentially keep the virus alive for days.

Realizing the potential dangers, the process to get rid of the hazardous waste collected from inside Vinson's and Pham's apartment was meticulous.

In all, 79 drums of waste left Dallas last Thursday. An undercover trooper, with the Texas Department of Public Safety, escorted the convoy as they traveled Interstate 45 south to Houston. The route selected was chosen intentionally, to avoid the metroplex area and keep the waste away from areas with heavy flows of congested traffic.

The trip then led to I-10 east, going around Beaumont, and into Port Arthur.

State officials were so concerned about the transport that they actually notified all law enforcement agencies from North Texas to Port Arthur, some 300+ miles, about the hazardous waste trip. The steps were taken as a precaution, so if the convoy were to be involved in an accident agencies would know how to approach the situation or stay away from it.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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